Thursday, April 15, 2010

New order: Israeli army could deport thousands of Palestinians

This memo came through the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.

New order could see Israeli army deport thousands of Palestinians.

Human rights groups have strongly rejected a new order defining thousands of West Bank Palestinians as "illegal" and "infiltrators." The orders potentially give Israeli military commanders the ability to deport to the Gaza Strip or Arab countries from which they originate, even if they entered the area legally and have lived there for many years. This could include thousands of Palestinians.

The orders, once they come into effect, essentially place thousands of Palestinians as well as foreign nationals at risk of criminal prosecution and deportation, without adequate legal review or appeal, should they fail to produce on request a permit issued by the military commander.

Given the sweeping and arbitrary nature of these orders, several organizations - including HaMoked, ACRI, Bimkom, B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din, Adalah, Rabbis for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights - have formally called on the Minister of Defense to delay, as a matter of urgency, their entry into force.

You can find further information about the orders (including English translations) and their implications (including the joint NGO letter to the Minister of Defense) on Hamoked’s website at this link:

According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

Some court cases may be pending in the next few days to suspend implementation of the new law, the enforcement of which will likely be at checkpoints. The number of possible expulsions ranges from 70,000–125,000.

The new military order aimed at preventing “infiltration” into the West Bank will come into force this week; it puts under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts those who are likely to be targeted by the new order [i.e., those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip—people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children—or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status and also foreign-born spouses of Palestinians].

The new order defines anyone who enters the West Bank illegally as an infiltrator, as well as “a person who is present in the area and does not lawfully hold a permit.” The order takes the original 1969 definition of infiltrator to the extreme, as the term originally applied only to those illegally staying in Israel after having passed through countries then classified as enemy states—Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria...The order’s language is both general and ambiguous, stipulating that the term infiltrator will also be applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. All this depends on the judgment of Israel Defense Forces commanders in the field.

Palestinian political groups Islamic Jihad, Fatah, PLO condemn the new military orders:
"Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Fatah Central Committee leader Nabil Sha’ath issued their own condemnations of the orders, with Erekat calling them “an assault on ordinary Palestinians, and an affront to the most fundamental principles of human rights,” and the tools of an “apartheid state.” See the article:

Amira Hass writes in Ha'aretz:
"A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.
"When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.
"Given the security authorities’ actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip - people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children - or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians.
"Until now, Israeli civil courts have occasionally prevented the expulsion of these three groups from the West Bank. The new order, however, puts them under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts." See the full article at this link:

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